"the world's highest battlefield."
From only this weekend a very tragic story, an entire Pakistani army battalion HQ being wiped out, buried by an an avalanche.
Pakistani army unit on the Siachen glacier, that line-of-contact, disputed territory in Kashmir between India and Pakistan, the HQ buried by an immense and very destructive avalanche of snow. That area of the world, the mountainous terrain on the border between Afghan and Pakistan extending northward to the Hindu Kush [Hindu killer] having the worst winter [cold alone?] in fifty to sixty years.
NOW THIS! Troops already living in the "dead zone" in danger of death from the altitude, also in danger from a mountasinside of snow collapsing on them with high speed, being buried alive a cruel and terrible fate. That "dead zone" altitude above 14,000 feet beyond which human habitation and survival impossible, the body slowly but surely deteriorating A SOLDIER NO MATTER HOW FIT PHYSICALLY STRESSED WELL BEYOND THE BREAKING POINT AT ALL TIMES!
"Avalanche buries 124 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians"
"ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - An avalanche engulfed a Pakistani army battalion headquarters near the Indian border on Saturday, burying 124 soldiers and 11 civilians, with no sign of survivors 17 hours later, the military said."
"Siachen is in the northern part of the Himalayan region of Kashmir. The no-man's-land of Siachen is 20,000 feet above sea level."
"Military experts say the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain have claimed more lives than gunfire."
MORE troops killed by that combination of altitude and cold than from gunfire and enemy action! Absolutely and undeniable.
Avalanche during the era from one hundred years ago, the Great War [WW1] also a severe problem. That alpine no-man's land between the forces of Italy and the Austro-Hungarians witnessing combat without amelioration during the four years of war, the threat of avalanche and destruction of entire units not only a possible, but a common occurrence! From the web site "Avalanche" by Richard Galli:
"During the three-year war in the Austro-Italian Alps at least 60,000 soldiers died in avalanches . . . Ten thousand died from avalanches in the 'lesser' ranges of the eastern half of the high front -- the Carnic and Julian Alps. In the 'high' Alps to the west, the Ortler and Adamello groups, the Dolomites, avalanches claimed 50,000 lives."
NOT necessarily man-made caused avalanches either. Naturally occurring and a danger to both side. Alpine warfare dangerous even when not in combat with the enemy, snow, cold, fall, avalanche! The forces of nature prevailing over man given enough time, cold in particular that one element the human body least able to withstand.
I was under the distinct impression that the various mountain combatants during WW1 used the avalanche as a DELIBERATE WEAPON OF WAR! Avalanches set off purposefully to bury your adversary alive under a mountainside of snow! This does not seem to be the case, apocrypha prevailing in common lore.
That Tyrol and the Italian Alps, always dangerous regardless of season, much more so during the winter, sunny and warm Italy NOT always so!